A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed that Texas ranks third among all states for domestic maritime jobs, with Houston ranked second among all U.S. cities for its contribution to the U.S. maritime industry. The study was commissioned by the Transportation Institute and recently highlighted by the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), a major coalition whose member organizations (including the SIU) represent all facets of the domestic maritime industry.
According to the report, the domestic maritime industry pumps $8 billion annually into the Texas economy, and provides 39,190 Texas maritime jobs, with $2.3 billion in worker income. A former merchant mariner, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) understands the strength the domestic maritime industry provides for his district, which holds the largest number of maritime jobs in the state.
“With a district that is home to one of the largest ports in our nation, the PwC study reminds us how proud we are to not only be a major source of good-paying jobs for Texas but also a leading contributor to our state and national economy,” Babin said.
U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (RTexas) stated, “I’m proud to say that in my district alone, there are more than 2,500 family-wage jobs that contribute $674 million to the local economy, due in large part to the thousands of hard-working men and women who are the true strength of the maritime industry.”
The report was highlighted at an important time. Related headlines appeared on the covers of multiple Texas-based newspapers on the day of a Republican presidential debate in Texas. As an AMP spokesperson noted, the amount of positive exposure this opportunity offered to the industry far surpassed the level of attention that a maritime study would normally garner from the press.
The jobs mentioned in the report are all tied to the Jones Act, America’s freight cabotage law. The Jones Act is one the pillars of the U.S.- flag maritime industry.
“The domestic maritime industry in Texas is important not just for the good jobs it provides and the critical role it plays in keeping our petrochemical industry functioning efficiently, but also because it is a critical link in our homeland and border security,” said U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “Tens of thousands of security-screened American seafarers who crew the hundreds of tugs, towboats, barges and offshore supply boats working all along the Texas coast, help keep terrorists away from our border and our critical petrochemical infrastructure.”
Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of San Jacinto College, added, “The domestic maritime industry provides opportunities for students at San Jacinto College’s new Maritime Technology and Training Center to receive the critical skills necessary for careers on the water. Creating the workforce needed in this industry will help secure our nation’s maritime capabilities.”
Captain Robert Shearon, presiding officer of the Houston Pilots, pointed out, “There has been phenomenal growth along the Houston Ship Channel over the last five years. The number of vessel transits and new waterfront facilities continue to increase – both indicators of the health and important economic impact of our port.”
U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) also affirmed his support for the domestic maritime industry and the thousands of jobs it provides to his district.
“I have proudly represented the Port of Houston for more than 20 years,” he said. “The port is an economic driver and a foundational pillar for our domestic security, providing a global outlet for commodities such as energy and crops, as well as an assortment of manufactured goods. These industries provide reliable jobs in our area and generate enormous revenue. When our port does well, our nation does well. I will continue to fight for funding and resources for the Port of Houston in the House of Representatives.”
“Texas is not only a leading domestic maritime state but also a top maritime training and education state,” said Rear Adm. Robert Smith III, USN (Ret.), vice president of Texas A&M University and superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. “The maritime industry touches every aspect of our lives in Texas, including educating men and women for well-paying jobs, moving our goods, and ensuring our national and homeland security.”
“From supporting tens of thousands of family-wage jobs to fueling the economy at both the state and national level, the study findings confirm that Texas remains a major leader in the domestic maritime industry,” said Tom Allegretti, AMP chairman. “The strength and necessity of the Jones Act could not be more apparent in Texas, a state that is home to the No. 2 city in the U.S. for the domestic maritime industry, not to mention its $8 billion in annual economic impact.”
A separate study of American shipbuilding by the U.S. Maritime Administration, covering both commercial and military ship construction, identified more than $2.3 billion in annual shipyard economic impact in Texas, attributing more than $1.4 billion in worker income to the state’s shipyard industry. Shipyard jobs pay approximately 45 percent above the national average for private sector employment.
Across the nation, the domestic maritime industry includes approximately 40,000 vessels, which support 478,440 jobs, and have an annual economic impact of $92.5 billion according to the Transportation Institute’s findings. Nationally, the industry also accounts for approximately $29 billion in wages and $10 billion in tax revenues.